Monday, February 27, 2017

How is Godly Wisdom demonstrated?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.” –James 3:17 (HCSB)

In the book of James, one finds excellent instruction on wisdom. Some call James the proverbs of the New Testament. God’s supply of wisdom never runs out and is always available to God’s people through the Word of God, meeting the demand for every hour. What remains desperately needed in the church today is discernment and wisdom. Wisdom is the application of the knowledge to daily living. James gives us a great list in James 3:17 of how wisdom should look day to day. Here is his list of fruits from James 3:17:

Pure- Purity is the first on James’ list because Godly wisdom relies upon God’s holiness (4:8). You would not drink a glass of water with one drop of raw sewage in it, would you? In a similar way, God’s people must look first to God’s Word as the source of all wisdom.

Peace-loving- True peace follows the outgrowth of purity. The blessing of peace comes only by God (Prov. 3:13-17) and peace remains availed from God alone (Psalm 119:65; Isa. 26:3; Phil. 4:7)

Gentle- When we speak to others are we gentle in our speech or rough like sand paper? Strife comes from following the world’s wisdom, but God’s people should remain gentle towards one another, anyone being restored from sin, and especially unbelievers. Jesus was tough and tender in his ministry. He was always tender with those who were unbelievers.

Compliant- this word means “willing to yield or take instructions” God’s wisdom has a friendly spirit and listens to reason.

Full of mercy and good fruit- Not jumping to conclusions, but instead showing mercy in all situations. I once knew a Godly man who would not even jump to conclusions when his urgent emails remained answered.

Impartial- Those who possess God’s wisdom do not decimate against others, nor are they uncertain within themselves. The wise do not take a position In one circumstance and then change their position when the circumstances change.

Sincere- The hypocrite says one thing but does another. Wisdom from above is honest and real; no game –playing, no mask wearing, no acting. Sincerity in daily living will serve as an immense tool for evangelism and joy for all we encounter.

Monday, February 6, 2017

In the Great Commission, does “Go” and “Make Disciples” carry the same weight?

While never called the “Great Commission” in the Bible, the last instructions to Jesus’ disciples carry tremendous importance. With his freshly confirmed authority (verse 18), Jesus gives the disciples a new directive (verse 19) to accomplish in his physical absence. The verse states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Moving from "therefore" the reader is immediately caught by what appears to be two equally weighted imperative verbs in English “go” and “make disciples.” However, upon examination in the Greek πορευθεντες, transliterated poreuthentes, functions as a participle modifying make disciples.

Dr. Craig Bloomberg points out “the main command of Christ’s commission is “make disciples” (mathēteusate).” He goes on to explain “Too much is made of “making disciples” when the disciples’ “going” is overly subordinated, so that Jesus’ charge is to proselytize merely where one is.” Bloomberg points out that Matthew frequently uses “go” as an introductory circumstantial participle in Matthew 2:8; 9:13; 11:4; 17:27; 28:7. Countless preachers and missionaries appeal to their hearers to answer the call on a foreign mission field through placing too heavy an emphasis on the participle “go.” The mission of making disciples will require many to leave their homes. But “disciple making” does not obligate all Christians to leave their homes. It may be better understood to read, “Therefore, as you are going make disciples.” But one should not be quick to dismiss the importance of the participle “go.”

         Dr. D.A. Carson writes the following about the relationship of the participle “go” to make disciples, “The circumstantial participle ‘go’ followed by the main verb is a common Matthean stylistic trait, and it becomes in effect another imperative, ‘Go and make disciples.’ In fact, the two participles that follow (‘baptizing’ and ‘teaching’) are also circumstantial and are imperatival in force. Still, the main verb ‘make disciples’ dominates, and all are aspects of that central part of the commission.” Dr. Matthew David Turner goes on to explain the issue with this and all the participles in the Great Commission, “One sometimes hears preaching that stresses that the imperative πορευθέντες is the only command in the passage. But surely the activities described by the three participles, though not grammatically imperatives, are not optional.” So through Matthew Jesus has given his command “go and make disciples,” with the emphasis on disciple-making. So wherever you are or whatever you do make disciples.